Posted on

Local veteran awarded a Quilt of Valor

Local veteran awarded a  Quilt of Valor Local veteran awarded a  Quilt of Valor

Korean War veteran Claude Buchberger was presented with a special gift, courtesy of Quilts of Valor, at the Jan. 3 meeting of Marathon American Legion Post 469.

The Quilts of Valor Foundation, a non-profit group of quilters from across the United States, has a mission to cover service members and veterans touched by wars with a Quilt of Valor in hopes of offering them comfort and healing. Started in 2003, the group has awarded over 369,797 quilts.

Buchberger was drafted into the U.S. Army in 1952 and reported for duty in February of 1953 at Fort Sheridan, Ill. From there, he was sent to Fort Lewis Army base in Tacoma, Wash., for basic combat training. This is where the Army turns civilians into soldiers and teaches them the skills needed for life in theArmy.

After completing basic training, Buchberger received his orders to be shipped out to Korea. He remembers his time in Washington as a time where it seemed to rain every day.

After his 10-day leave at home, Buchberger caught a train to Por-

See VALOR/ page 3 Valor

Continued from page 1

tage County and from there he took the Great Northern train to Seattle. He was then assigned a spot on the Inchon ship heading across the Pacific Ocean to Korea.

Buchberger was assigned to the King Company under the 17th Regiment and 7th Division, Rifle Company. Once he arrived in Korea, he was stationed near the 38th Parallel, or Pork Chop Hill, before it became known as the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ). The war was coming to an end, and out of the 200 men in his company, only 60 were left. There was a lot of tough combat in that area.

His first job was to guard the railroad tracks on which the prisoners from South Korea were transported. This was a tough job because he would have to spend most of the day outside in the freezing wind and snow. He patrolled for 12 hours a day for 12 days in a row. He slept wearing every bit of clothes he could find, including his uniform and boots – and that still wasn’t enough.

When his assignment of guarding the railroad tracks was finished, Buchberger’s company was directed to help dig a Main Line of Resistance, which was a line of fortified resistance, built to stop or slow down the North Koreans if they decided to move through the DMZ and attack South Korea again. He was a commander at the Korean DMZ and also attended Non-Commissioned Officer School.

Buchberger was honorably discharged from the U.S. Army on Jan. 3, 1955 (69 years ago). He received the following awards: Korean Service Ribbon, United Nations Service Medal, Republic of Korea Presidential Unit Citation, National Defense Service Medal and the Good Conduct Medal. The highest rank he achieved was corporal.

Quilts of Valor are an expression of gratitude meant to thank and comfort veterans by saying “Thank you for your service, sacrifice and valor in serving our nation.”

THAT’S A WRAP - Veteran Claude Buchberger is wrapped with his new Quilt of Valor by sisters Marsha Otto, left, and Marla Berg, who presented the gift at last week’s American Legion meeting. KEVIN O’BRIEN/STAFF PHOTO